Just bought this beautiful 1909 Clarence Hudson White photographic reprint online. Often when I’m looking for ways to procrastinate I cruise the antique photography categories on ebay or etsy- there are so many unwanted individuals or job lots of antique images out there- usually of subjects without many clues or backstories. I saw this one listed a few months ago but didn’t take the time to bid or bookmark it.
For some reason I can never resist the way that fur looks on men in old photographs, but what I love even more about this picture is the handsome, arresting face peering out through the coyote pelt- Yale alumnus and polar explorer George Borup. It’s become a cliche to describe a portrait subject’s expression as ‘enigmatic’, but that really seems to fit the bill here. The image stayed in my mind and after weeks had passed, I regretted my failure to snap him up. Luckily I got a second chance when I came across the listing again by pure chance this week. The quality and condition of the print is nothing special, but sometimes an object- an image- just gets under your skin.